Blazers softball leaves Wheaton Knights in the dust after high-scoring game

April 14, 2023, 7:39 p.m. | By Sudhish Swain | 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The Blazers demolished the Knights in the fourth inning, scoring ten straight runs, and won with a final score of 17-7

On Thursday, April 13, the Blazers (4-3) took on the Wheaton Knights (3-2) in a thriller that ended with the Knights being spared thanks to the mercy rule. The game ended with a final score of 17-7 halfway through the bottom of the sixth inning. 

Wheaton’s offense came out strong with sophomore hitter Abigail Fritz scoring two runs in the first inning due to a miscoordination by Blair’s defense. Blair sophomore pitcher Sydney Humpert threw a great strikeout to put Blair on offense and prevent any further scoring by the Knights.

Sophomore outfielder Brookyln Brunson invigorated the crowd with a double, followed by a smart bunt by sophomore infielder Sarah O’Connor to get her to first base. On the next play, it was almost too easy for Brunson and O’Connor to steal third and second, respectively. With junior shortstop Nikki Tjiputra getting a walk-off her keen eye, the girls had loaded their bases. Despite Tjiputra getting tagged out for the girls’ third out, Brunson managed to get a run to make the score 2-1, with the Blazers still trailing.

Humpert put on a show in the second inning, striking out three batters in a row so quickly that you would have missed it if you blinked. With the Blazers on offense, a triple by senior captain Vanessa Turner allowed her to get the run after the sacrifice bunt by sophomore Naomi Andelman, bringing the score to 2-2.

Senior captain Lydia Noyes swings at a riseball from Knights’ freshman pitcher Aizza Torres Photo courtesy of Sudhish Swain.

In the third inning, Wheaton managed to tack on three more runs thanks to their great batting. Tjiputra and sophomore outfielder Mia Brown got the Blazers two more runs and brought the score up to 4-5. Another two runs and the Blazers were in the lead, but they needed something strong to pull away.

A strikeout, fly out, and force out by the Blazers' defense in the fourth put Blair back on offense to begin their onslaught. O’Connor found her way to third base off an original single, thanks in part to unforced errors by the Knights but mostly due to her exceptional speed. Both Brown and Tjiputra got walks to get Blair’s bases loaded. The Blazers hoped to make the play they couldn’t in the first, and that’s exactly what they did. A huge hit to the outfield by senior captain Lydia Noyes allowed Blair to rack up three runs and brought the score up to 9-5.

On the next play, Noyes got a run of her own, and a walk on loaded bases by Andelman brought the score up to 11-5. Blair followed this up with another three runs on loaded bases, and Brown ended the inning by getting Blair another two runs thanks to an error by the Knights. With the score at 16-5 at the end of the fourth, the Knights needed two more runs to stay in the game, according to the mercy rule. The Knights barely accomplished this, getting no more than the two runs they needed during the fifth inning, bringing the score to 16-7.

Blair's offense came up short in the bottom of the fifth, but their defense came to the rescue. With one run needed to win, Blair's defense turned in three straight outs, keeping Wheaton off the scoreboard and securing the victory in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a victory run by Brunson. 

Senior captain Lydia Noyes credited the team's fourth-inning comeback to a surge in morale. "We picked up our energy and started hitting," she said. "We got excited and knew we would win." 

The start of the game wasn’t what the team was hoping for, though. Head coach Louis Hoelman commented on the team’s poor first innings. “I want to improve on getting a better start, we came out kind of flat, we made some mistakes in the first inning. I don’t want to have to bounce back every game -- I want to come out on a better start, jump on a team early and just put them away.” Hoelman also hopes to work on the team’s inconsistencies, which are understandable due to the large sophomore presence on the team. “I also want to work on getting more consistent; we can make the best plays in the world and then we can make some mistakes .. we’ve got to eliminate those mistakes and just keep working on that throughout the season.”

The Blazers won their game against the Titans today (final score: 18-5) and will face the Northwood Gladiators (away) on Saturday, April 15. 

Last updated: Nov. 1, 2023, 10:57 a.m.

Sudhish Swain. Hi! I'm Sudhish (he/him) and I'm one of the sports editors as well as a videographer. I often record videos at games, write beats, post recaps/galleries/videos on our social medias, and more! Besides SCO, I love running, listening to music, and learning new languages! More »

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